Warming up before exercising is vital to prepare your muscles for a workout. The body needs to warm up slowly, to loosen up the muscles before we can do anything serious. Here are 4 ways to improve your performance by stretching before you do any exercise:
Do both static and dynamic stretches
To start, there are two ways to stretch your body: static and dynamic. In the first case it’s just a matter of keeping a part of your body stretched for a few seconds and move to the next one. The dynamic way is to incorporate movements and take your joints through their full range of motion.
Tony McGrath, the Health & Fitness Club Manager at Clayton Hotel Cork City, says “Dynamic stretching is ideal as the core of a warm-up routine for several reasons: It activates muscles you will use during your workout. For example, a lunge with a twist is a dynamic stretching exercise that engages your hips, legs, and core muscles”
Another way to prepare your body before an exercise is to start slowly. Take the first 10 minutes with a light run and elevate your heart rate, then push harder. You will naturally find your pace and feel when your body is ready. If you are going to play a sport, do some trotting around the field. Use this time to shrug your shoulders and swing your arms. Always move your body before you start exercising, instead of stretching from the “cold”.
Make the right movement
Imagine your muscles as rubber bands. In order to become more flexible, you have to extend the rubber bands slowly. This is similar to your muscles. Both of your muscles must feel stretched before working out. If you don’t feel your muscles are stretched, you may have warmed up incorrectly. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at these stretches on Live Strong.
Good habits are powerful. Many of us will feel stretching is just for working out, however, as we use our muscles a lot throughout the day for things such as travelling to work, taking the bins out or even cleaning could lead to an injury. We don’t know what activities the day will bring us, so it’s important to start the day right by stretching every morning.